Peshawar has a very old and historical background. Rising approximately 1040 feet above Sea level and situated in latitude 34 – 31 (Degree) and longitude 71 – 25 (Degree) it sits at the entrance of the famous Khyber Pass. It appears in history as a part of Gandhara Kingdom, and the dynasties which controlled this valley, date back to 550 B.C. The city of Peshawar is first mentioned by a Chinese traveler, Fa-Hian in A.D. 400. It has maintained till date its old characteristic of being a center of trade, business and industry all through. Its strategic position of being situated on an international highway and famous Khyber Pass has made it a cradle of ancient culture and civilizations.
The Peshawar Cantonment was established on the remains of old town site and the graveyard. It was as irregular and oblong in shape as it is today and originally occupied an area of 09 square kilometers. It was occupied by British troops soon after annexation of Punjab in 1848 – 49. After the fall of Sikhs in 1849 and annexation of Punjab to the British Empire, a Military Garrison was established at Peshawar during 1868 on the remains of old town site and ancient grave yards.
The boundaries of Peshawar Cantt were 1st notified vide Punjab Gazette Notification No. 279, dated 7-11-1898. The boundaries were extended in 1943 vide Govt of India Notification No. 10/14/G/CEL, dated 27-11-1943.
Peshawar Cantonment now covers an area of 13.64 Sq. Kilometers (5.12 Sq. Miles or 3277.97 Acres).
As per yardstick provided vide Section 13 of the Cantonments Act, 1924 and as per census of 1998 showing a civil population of (68755) individuals. The Cantonment of Peshawar is a Class – II Cantonment. It has been divided into Five Electoral Ward. As per the latest Census in 1998, its population must be well over One Hundred thousand if the population of troops stationed at Peshawar Cantt is added.
There are two Bazar Areas, one declared under Section 43-A of the Cantonments Act, 1924 and the other notified under Rule 2(b) of the C.L.A Rules, 1937 as per details given below: -
- An area measuring 55.94 acres was declared as “Bazar Area” under Section 43-A of the Cantonments Act, 1924 vide late Government of India Notification No. 385, dated 22-5-1937. It was further extended by including the contiguous areas measuring 173-76 acres vide Ministry of Defence Notification No. S.R.O 1202(I)/80, dated 29-11-1980, thus bringing the total to 193.70 Acres (i.e. 783869.57 Sq. Metres).
- Another area of 266.46 acres (i.e. 1078316.40 Sq. Meter) was notified as “Bazar Area” under Rule 2(b) of the C.L.A Rules, 1937 vide Ministry of Defence Notification No. 923/55, dated 04-11-1955. A proposal was initiated to convert this notified “Bazar Area” too, into the declared Bazar Area under section 43-A of the Cantonments Act, 1924 vide Cantt Board Peshawar letter No. 6/2-B/(V)/193, dated 19-5-1983. Somehow the proposal could not be finalized for want of Govt: sanction.
- The Cantt Board vide Resolution No. 54, dated 24-4-1988 proposed to declare the areas now as R.A Bazar (Topkhana Bazar) and Shaheed Bazar as “Bazar Area” under section 43-A of Cantonments Act, 1924 with a view to ensuring better public convenience and Municipal Administration. These areas are presently under the management of M.E.O, Peshawar Circle, Peshawar Cantt and the Board has very restricted control over it. The Station Headquarter letter No. 6/2-b(V)/2424, dated 25-5-1988 to accord “N.O.C” to the declaration of the above area as “Bazar Area” under section 43-A of Cantonments Act, 1924 but the “N.O.C” has not yet been granted.
- Boundary pillars of the notified “Bazar Area” and the main Cantonment mostly exist.